Michelle Obama’s polished style is a perfect blend of political polish, designer luxury, and American sportswear. Here are some of our favorite Michelle O moments.
First Lady of the United States has one of the most difficult jobs to dress for in the world. She is constantly in the eye of a very critical public, has to attend numerous functions, yet must balance being one of the most visible representatives of the office (not to mention the family) of the President with the need to appear approachable, fashionable, and respectable.
Of all of the American First Ladies who have come and gone in recent history, Michelle Obama has managed what no other First Lady has done since Jacqueline Kennedy. Michelle Obama has shown us that it is indeed possible to be both a serious player on the world stage and still take a keen interest in fashion. Here are a few of our favorite of Michelle Obama’s looks over the years.
Many who follow the fashion of Michelle Obama call this the dress that started it all. Even the New York Times saw fit to write an entire article about Michelle Obama’s choice of a red and black Narcisco Rodriguez dress for her husband’s election night victory speech in 2008. The dress, which was from the Spring 2009 Narcisco Rodriguez collection (and not yet available in stores), signalled a departure from any past expectations of how a first Lady should look and championed a new generation of American designers all in one fell swoop.
Although not everybody approved of her choice of such a progressive label, the fashion world responded quite positively to her choice, reinforcing her selection of an American Designer – something that has become her calling card over the years.
Anyone who takes an interest in fashion will likely remember the first Jason Wu inaugural dress. The one-shouldered white floral appliquéd gown took our collective breath away as she took the dance floor with her newly-elected husband. The dress was the perfect choice; a symbol of a fresh, new beginning for both the country and fashion’s place within the social matrix of the political world.
The red velvet and chiffon Jason Wu gown that Obama wore for the second Inaugural Ball in 2013 was also a showstopper albeit for different reasons. This dress was a departure from the first Jason Wu in that there was a confidence about it enhanced by the bold ruby color and the cutaway neckline. This bold statement of confidence made this dress the perfect choice for celebrating a re-elected president.
The ruby Jason Wu dress resonated so well with the public that it has become a part of the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History’s 100-year Anniversary of First Ladies exhibit.
It is no secret that the First Lady is a big fan of U.S. Retailer J. Crew. Their fresh, sporty designs are clean, modern, and financially accessible making them a perfect choice for a First Lady who wants to connect with the public. She and her two daughters famously wore the brand at her husband’s first Inaugural Ceremony causing a sensation that ultimately caused J. Crew to immediately sell out of the violet and plum colored Lady’s Day coats that Malia and Sasha wore as well as the highly coveted rhinestone encrusted belt worn by the First Lady. The pieces were so popular that when J. Crew finally decided to retire them in the “Obama” colors out of respect for the first family, the news made headlines.
Mrs. Obama has also made headlines wearing other main street fashion brands. She was seen wearing a $55 Talbots dress as she arrived on Martha’s Vineyard in 2013 for her summer vacation, and wore a $34 navy polka dot H&M dress for an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. In her typical unique style, she accessorized the dress with a red waist-cinching belt and a pair of joyful bright yellow pumps.
As First Lady, Michelle Obama has been a champion to emerging American designers, storied luxury brands, and affordable mainstream fashion houses all while flawlessly performing one of the most public jobs in the world. Her unique sense of mixing the luxurious with the attainable has been a breath of fresh air to the White House, and an inspiration to women all over the world.
Kristin is an American writer based in the Scottish Highlands. She is a saxophonist, an obsessive tennis player, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and holds a Master's degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is the author of the online style blog highlandfashionista.com
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